Nala first appears in the musical as she is hunting with the other lionesses, replacing the scene from the film where she is being bathed by her mother Sarafina. Later, during the song "I Just Can't Wait to Be King", she sings quite a few extra lines that do not appear in the film version.
In the scene "The Madness of King Scar", the lonely, mentally ill Scar decides to take Nala as his queen, despite the fact that she is angrily opposed to the idea. This leads to the song scene "Shadowland" where Nala's character sings the lead about her need to leave the Pride Lands and find help. The other lionesses sing supporting choir and Rafiki sings a blessing. At the end of the song, Nala bids her pride a sad farewell and leaves.
Tony Award-winning actress Heather Headley portrayed her in the original Broadway cast while Kajuana Stafford portrayed the younger version of her. In the London West End production, she was originally portrayed by Paulette Ivory.